By Apolinario Villalobos
First of all, it must be known that there are many forms of prayers or ways by which a prayer can be expressed, such as, silently, loudly, and by sign language. But generally, the prayer can be classified into just three, such as, memorized, read, and extemporaneously expressed straight from the heart.
The Roman Catholic Church has hundreds of prepared or printed prayers with specific intentions, such as, those for the dead, for Christening, for the wedding, for the sick, for job hunting, for wooing a woman, for damning an enemy, etc. One will just have to go to Quiapo to see piles of printed prayer books sold like candies outside the cathedral. These prayers become more effective according to the vendors if candles are being burned while specific prayers are mumbled, till the candle completely melts. Some “faithful” even hire a “praying professional”- a person who prays for a fee. Each candle is distinguished for a particular intention by their color.
The voodooistic practices are being done right under the very nose of the Catholic priests, and while the amplified Mass is going on inside the massive historic structure where the Black Nazarene is enshrined. If these are wrong, why can’t the Church authorities put a stop to them? Why can’t announcements be made during the Mass so that even those outside the church will hear them? Why can’t this simple act of correcting a wrong right within their community is not being done, while Catholic bishops are against and very vocal about the killing of drug personalities who are criminals?
Many Roman Catholic prayers are outright funny, especially, those which have not been “updated”, having been written during the heyday of fanaticism, particularly during the later part of the Spanish colonization. The prayers are full of outright ignorance as regards to what prayers are supposed to be about. For this, one just has to check the “marathon prayer” or “chant” used during the “pabasa” of the Lenten season. These supposedly solemn prayers are “updated” using hip-hop tunes, to purportedly encourage the youth to participate. Also, for other interesting discoveries, one may check the prayer being chanted by sleepy “faithful” Roman Catholics during the “pasiyam” of the dead brethren in which the “tower of David” is mentioned. Every night it is done for the duration of the nine-day wake. I would like to make it clear that I have nothing against these prayers of the Roman Catholic Church…I am just sharing what I know about them.
For me, the best prayers are those that are extemporaneously said by New Christians as they are obviously coming from their heart….not read from “prayer books”….that is my personal opinion and nobody should question that.